Smelly Marker Writing Exercise

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Smelly markers – the good smelling kind! The ones that conjure up memories!

I love the Mr. Sketch Markers for anchor charts. They last forever and the smells bring great stories to mind.

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At the end of last school year, I was able to order some markers for teachers and myself. I brought them to my presentation on Wednesday and everyone went crazy with “OOO I love those “and “Can I smell them?” I even converted a couple of people who were not on the Mr Sketch marker train.

You know your kids have been into the markers when a colored dot is on their nasal septum (that part between the nostrils) even if they claim they have not been sniffing the delicious scents!

My favorite scent is the Brown Marker that smells like cinnamon. YUM!

In my presentation last week, someone said it would be great if there was a marker that smelled like McDonald’s french fries. Broccoli would not be a good scent for green. What do you think? What do you think your students would say?

 

Writing Exercise:

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Go write!

 

Marc D Hans is Amazing!

There have been several times in the trajectory of my teaching career over 22 years that I have questioned whether I am in the right place and doing the right things. I’ve been struggling with this concept for quite a while.

Tuesday my mindset shifted while listening to Marc D. Hans.  He is a man who does a lot and deals in Design Thinking. He is so much more than a teacher. After listening to him, I feel like I am in the right place again. I cannot put my finger on exactly what he said that resonated but overall he was INSPIRING. I needed to be inspired by someone dynamic. During the experiences he led us through I was ALL IN. It felt amazing and everything that he said made sense to me. I will be coming back again and again to my notes for the weeks to come. 

5 Takeaways (there were so many more for me!)

  1. Storytelling – every concept he talked about was connected to a story from his life. We were able to get to know him and he made his point. Even though I know that narrative is how our brains like to learn I often forget. Marc reminded me.
  2. Be Comfortable with the Uncomfortable – Being an introvert causes me to push out of my comfort zone with people all the time. The first activity he did that dealt with our phones pushed me – but I did it and I didn’t die. I have to remember that sometimes the payoff is better than the uncomfortable feeling. This idea ties into me sharing my own writing too.
  3. Make the SUBJECTIVE OBJECTIVE – naming things and examining exactly what it is can give perspective. Our perception of how people might react causes us to not start things because of our own limitations. We talk ourselves out of a lot and get in our own way. It reminds me to ask myself, “What is the worst that can happen?” Usually, it isn’t as bad as I first think.
  4. Humans crave GENUINE EXPERIENCES with others. I vow to stop answering “Fine” or “Good” when people ask me how I am.
  5. “Relationships are the difference between being a teacher and an employee.” How we care about the adults and students around us matters.

The literacy coach and consultant Lisa Vahey has been a jewel in my life over the past two years. There are many reasons for this fact,  but the most prominent in connection to today’s post is that she has introduced me to people that I never would have met any other way.  I never would have met Marc if it wasn’t for Lisa.

I am so glad that I was able to go to the workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday. I really left feeling inspired and I had some great conversations with teachers I work with.

I encourage you to look up these two people – you will not be sorry. You might even get inspired too!

 

Life Bubbles #SOL18

It’s Tuesday! A writing and commenting day I look forward to every week.

Time for the Slice of Life Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

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I am up incredibly early today. It is the second day in a row I am up at 4 am. I have had coffee and I am thinking about the day.

Yesterday was a busy one. Today will be too. I have happily engulfed myself in the laid back schedule of summer which requires minimal driving, lots of reading and writing, rest, and exercise.

Today is different.

Today I have to go to work. I have to tear myself from my new “normal” routine and transition back to “work” routine and I am not happy about it.

It will be fine once I am on the road. I will naturally morph back into my coaching role today at the literacy retreat/workshop today and tomorrow. I will listen to my podcasts to and from work and make notes.

Don’t misunderstand. I love the people at this workshop and will be delighted to spend the days with them but there will be a part of me all day longing to be with my husband and children.

Today will fuel my writing and my plans for coaching for the upcoming school year. I have big plans, but I am not quite so ready to think about them yet.

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I like my bubbles. Most of the time the home bubble and the work bubble only exist next to each other. We will see if they collide today or continue to be friends.

I Wish I Could Remember

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I wish I could remember more details of my foot races. They are hours of pain, images, and exhaustion. I scan the few photos and remember snippets but not a whole story. Lines and phrases only.

Boston should have been joyous but my Opa (German grandfather) had just died, I was written up at work for going to the Boston Marathon because it wasn’t an appropiate use of my grieve time according to the school. Ironically, a couple of months later the teacher across the hall went to Disney when her dad died,  but that was appropriate.

I remember the feeling in the first Marathon in Indy. I looked at my watch and knew I would finish with a time I didn’t think was possible.

So many hours I have run. Many to escape where I was. The time gap causes more memories to be forgotten than remembered. I read back to my notebooks and blog posts and the memory is restored for a few moments and I smile…again.

Lately,  I have been having trouble running joyously. I go out and move my feet.  I am tired all the time. It is painful but in a different way. My heart isn’t in it.

My soul and my body argue on a run now and it isn’t pleasant. They are at odds.

I read the other day if you don’t have inner peace then you will never have happiness. Outside sources cannot fuel it. I believe that to be true. Outside stressors especially are wreaking havoc on my inner peace. The running used to help and now I am evaluating if it has become a stress rather than relief.

Is there something in your life that used to help you that you feel is holding you back now? I would love to hear about it.

3.2.1 Quote Me – Hope

Thank you to Family Furore for nominating me for the 3.2.1 Quote Challenge.

Rules: 3.2.1 Quote Me!

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post 2 quotes for the Topic of the Day, which is HOPE.
  • Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me’.

The chosen topic for this challenge is HOPE and these are the two quotes I have chosen:

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A bonus quote:

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Hope is the piece that you sometimes have to look hard for when you are in the middle of despair. If it is dark, the hope is easier to see. There is a lot of pull between light and dark in our lives.

I always try to choose LOVE over FEAR. Everything is temporary and I try to remember that HOPE exists even in the darkest of circumstances.

 

The three bloggers nominated if they choose to accept the challenge are…

Kristyn from The Bibliophile Empress

https://eclipsedwords.com/

Books Inked

 

 

Do You Reread?

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There are few books I reread. The book Essentialism by Greg McKeown comes back onto my radar usually after I have listened to Tsh Oxenreider from THE ART OF SIMPLE talk about it.

This book requires me to think about my actions and why I make the decisions I do especially when it comes to how I spend my time. There is often a gap between what my responsibilities are and what I want to do. There is also a category of the things I should do because someone expects me to. This is the area I am really looking at for the upcoming school year. I have made a big decision about doing what I deem essential and also managing my schedule and time differently.

I have a choice about how I spend my time. At school, I want to spend my time on the actions that I can get the most bang for my buck and make the most impact with my teachers. I cannot do everything even though my TYPE A personality whispers to me in quiet moments that I can.

I stopped celebrating just being busy for busy sake and my stress levels went down.

Over the next couple of days these questions from the book will be on my mind:

  1. What do I feel deeply inspired by?
  2. What am I particularly talented at?
  3. What meets a significant need in the world?

The next right thing for me and my time is on my mind. What are you thinking about for the fall?

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Mystery Blogger Award!

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Hi everyone! I am so honored to have been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Books, Life, and Everything Nice! She’s an amazing blogger! Please check out her blog. A great big thank you for the nomination!

The award was created by Okoto Enigma. The explanation on her blog is as follows:

The “Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
– Okoto Enigma

RULES

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

3 Things About Myself:

  1. I want to retire in Minnesota.
  2. I cannot play the piano but can play the violin.
  3. I love ultra running but have no desire to do a triathlon.

My Questions:

  1. What’s the funniest experience you’ve had on vacation? When in Hawaii, I went to a ranch and learned to lasso!
  2. What’s your favorite reading snack? Coffee and bread!
  3. How do other people describe you? Intense and passionate
  4. Of which accomplishment from last year are you most proud? Writing 31 stories for STORYADAY MAY
  5. What 3 things would you tell your younger self? Don’t follow the status quo. Follow all the white rabbits you want to and don’t be afraid.

My Nominees

https://lifewithktkinnes.com/

https://cornishmaidblog.com/

https://lifetravelsoul.com/

https://exquisitely.me/

https://bekadaisies.com/

https://bitchininthekitchen.org/

https://artsychiccreations.wordpress.com/

 

My Questions for them:

1.What was something you used to believe, but you no longer do?

2.What were the components of your best day ever?

3.What are you working on you are excited about?

4.Once upon a time or It was a dark and stormy night?

5.What do you find fills your creative well the best?

 

My 3 Favorite Posts

One – Quick Dinner

Two – Emotional Bank Account

Three MAGIC!

ARC MEANT TO BE BROKEN REVIEW

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For this review, I received an advance copy of this wonderful book. My opinions are my own.

This book is categorized as a YA Romance…not usually my genre and I was not disappointed in this book at all. The characters are well developed and you care about them. I kept reading wanting to know what happened to each of them. There are romance tropes of course, a love triangle and some terrible decisions on the characters part but a great read. The love triangle isn’t introduced right away but there is a build up where you sense it is coming. It was the perfect book to read in my hammock in the summer shade.

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The book is a respectable 450+ pages but went fast. The only reason I didn’t read it two days was because it was so good I didn’t want it to end.

I have been focused on character names lately and the three main were perfectly named in this book. Rayne, Gage,  and Preston.

The banter between Gage and Rayne is super fun to read. The relationships are well written along with the plot.

There are even a few moments where I was surprised by the way the story turned! A few gaspers even! Just when you think you have these lives figured out another curve ball comes in at just the right time. It is a satisfying read and one I highly recommend if you are in the mood for a great book.

Some favorite quotes:

Like we’re stuck in some sort of time warp where everything’s paused, and when we do get a moment, someone’s always crashing it. p.94

He’s walking Prozac to her, the one medicine that religiously calms her anxiety. p. 211

Everytime I speak, Taryn stares at me as if I’m a jigsaw puzzle in pants, some experiment she can pick apart and dissect like the fetal pigs from her medical classes, then bandage up again like-new condition. p. 393

Check this book out! It is a summer read that will suck you in and stick with you after the last page.

Title: Meant To Be Broken

Author: Brandy Woods Snow

Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing

Publication Date: July 2nd, 2018

Format:

Reviewers in the United States: Paperback

International Reviewers: eBook (format of choice)

Description:

Rayne Davidson is perfectly happy fading into the background. Her mama’s antics garner enough attention in their small Southern town for the both of them, but when Rayne catches the eye of all-star quarterback, Preston Howard, she’s enamored with the possibilities. Too bad Preston doesn’t make her heart thump—his brother does.

Gage Howard doesn’t mind the town’s stares because he doesn’t get them. Growing up in his older brother’s shadow, Gage shrugs off the endless parade of girls Preston brings home—until Rayne.

But there are unwritten rules that shouldn’t be broken, like cheating on your boyfriend or betraying your brother. Rayne and Gage deny their growing attraction, neither willing to hurt Preston—until the town finds out.

They think overcoming the gossip will be the hardest obstacle.

They’re wrong.

Rayne’s mama has a secret, and its revelation could divide the town, the families, and the new couple.

Can love endure if it’s all built on a lie?

#happyreading

Poem in Your Pocket…Literally

sols_6I am continuing the logging of some of my funny stories from my teaching career and am sharing one for Two Writing Teachers Blog Slice of Life.

Last month I attended an amazing workshop with Jack Berckemeyer and his colleagues. One of the main components of their presentations is FUN. As I was listening I started a list of funny stories from my teaching career. Every teacher has funny stories of situations with students and I have decided to write some of them down.

Laughter helps you lose weight, live longer, and lower your blood pressure. Bring on the guffaws!

Poem in Your Pocket…Literally

I love poetry. I love writing poetry. I love teaching poetry. I love reading and displaying the poetry my students write.

When I was a reading specialist I introduced Poem In Your Pocket Day. I use poems with reluctant readers because they are fun and because they seem to be less intimidating to students. We use them for reading and writing.

I was lucky in this particular job at the elementary level to push in to do full classroom writing lessons but also have small groups.

My classroom was right by the front doors and the office, but also right across from the bathrooms. I learned early that it was important to have reading materials outside my door and in the hallway so students could read while they were waiting in line for their turn to use the facilities.

I was standing in the hallway having a brief conference with a 5th grade teacher and her students were lined up. I noticed one boy kept patting his jeans pocket. It was that movement we have when we have something important in our pocket that we do not want to lose. We keep checking to make sure it hasn’t magically disappeared without our knowledge.

I asked him what he had in his pocket. I was intrigued. He looked at me shyly and said, “My poem”.

This was a student that was a little on the harder side. He was very guarded and would be likely to have a weapon in his pocket rather than a poem.

The look of surprise was evident in my face and he continued.

“You talked to us about poem in your pocket day so I thought I should put my own poem I am working on should be in my pocket then I always have it with me.”

I smiled at him with tears in my eyes. “I love it,” I told him.

He smiled and patted his pocket again.

I saw him several times during the day and every time he would smile at me like we shared a secret and pat his pocket to let me know his poem was still there. He extended poem in your pocket day for at least a week.

#happytuesday

Sunday Morning Coffee Talk

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Let’s take our cup out on the porch! The sun is shining and the weather is pleasant and not humid today!

Yesterday I meet with a friend and colleague to talk through the first two chapters of Onward Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators by Elena Aguilar. I was introduced to this author and coach by my wonderful coach Lisa Vahey. Elena was recently on the Cult of Pedagogy podcast talking about the new book which sparked new interest.

On the way to work I was listening to the podcast. When I arrived at school my friend Erica had listened to the same podcast the same morning. We decided it was a sign to meet and go through the book together.

The program is designed to progress over the course of a year. As the coach, I plan on using elements of the books (text and workbook) in my PD’s,  but the deep work will be with Erica.

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The first chapter is “Know Yourself”.

I had the teachers do the 16 personalities quiz at the beginning of the school year which changed conversations for the rest of the year. You know something is effective and sticks when the personality letters keep getting brought up in casual conversation and people joke about it. It really started a ripple effect.

I am constantly trying to figure out how to make my coaching “sticky-er” as Vahey would say. Core values is an avenue I want to explore more with my teachers this coming school year and is part of the chapter. Danny “Sunshine” Bauer has a wonderful podcast called The Better Leaders Better Schools. He also has a “mini-podcast” that addresses snippets of great ideas called the School Leadership Series. He has stories attached to his core values. I want to incorporate this idea in my own practice. I will be writing more once the school year starts but you can check out the episodes “Rule 6” “the Big Dominio” and “Honey badger spirit” for the story examples.

Erica and I are old enough and have been teaching long enough to know ourselves pretty well. I am happy to say that there are elements in Auguliar’s book that were new which is always welcome. Sociopolitical identity groups was a new one. Erica and I talked about our personality type (we have almost all the same letters) and white advantage. We talked about how the groups we belong to and culture can affect how we deal with students.

The second chapter is “Understand Emotions”. The beginning paragraph really sums up how I feel about emotions. I take things personally about 4 days out of the year and I will cry because my feelings get hurt. I teach with someone who is the opposite so that is a big joke too.

Elena’s quote sums up this chapter for me and my feelings about emotions:

Whether in response to my own emotions or those I perceived in others, my mindset was, I see that you’re sad, and I’m sorry, but deal with it. Wipe off those tears. Get to work. It wasn’t that I lacked empathy, but I didn’t believe that there was a need to explore the emotions that adults had, or that it was my role. P. 45

I am looking forward to diving more into these books.

In other news…

I am reading an advanced copy of Meant to Be Broken by Brandy Woods Snow and I am so excited. It has started out fantastically and I am looking forward to sharing the review in all the places when I am done reading. Look for that soon!

I finally finished:

I enjoyed it. I would put it in a book flight with Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore Novel by Robin Sloan and Rodrigo Corral.

Questions for us to consider and converse about today:

Do you know what your core values are? I really had to think about it in my conversation with Erica yesterday. I really pondered what situations really bend me out of shape and what I fundamentally have an issue with…Erica and I had a real conversation about the difference between integrity and honesty too. (integrity is one of my core values BTW)

Cannot wait to hear your thoughts to this idea or anything this beautiful Sunday! What do you want to talk about?

Happy Sunday!